Northwest head football coach Bill Poe got what he wanted out of the spring season. He found his starting quarterback.
Senior Hunter Johnson (6-0, 175) emerged through the workouts as the leader Poe wants. Johnson succeeds Jesse Drummer, who had the reigns of the offense for the previous two seasons.
Northwest finishes its season on Friday with its spring game at 6 p.m. at Northwest ISD Stadium.
"We’re looking for Hunter to take ownership of the offense, and he knows that,” Poe said. "One of the things that he does better is that he’s going to be able to run the football. He’ll be an efficient runner. What we need him to do better is be better in the pocket.”
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Johnson is coming into this season without throwing a varsity pass on his resume. In 2014, Northwest quarterbacks attempted 349 passes, all by Drummer.
"[Johnson decision] really was a case of a series of evaluations,” Poe said. "Through our research, we just want to make sure that what we do will help simplify things and how we can ease the load on him.”
While the big receiving threat in Emmanuel Moore is gone, Poe has two quality receivers in Gavin Holmes (5-10, 170) and Syrus Moore (5-7, 160). Moore – no relation to Emmanuel – turned out to be the second-most productive receiver on the team in 2014 when he had 48 receptions for 505 yards with five touchdowns. Holmes developed into a solid third receiver with 25 receptions for 266 yards while averaging 10.6 yards per reception. He also had two touchdowns.
"They’re going to be turn into a two-headed combination for us, and I think they’ll give us more diversity,” Poe said. "They’re getting bigger, faster and strong so I like the way that’s going.”
The spring game is going to start out with a 30-minute game situation. However, the first-team offense and first-team defense will be on different units. They will oppose each other in the scrimmage.
"I think we’re in a situation where we have good balance between both, and I want to see them compete against each other,” Poe said.
Byron Nelson update
The Bobcats are preparing for their spring game at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Northwest ISD Stadium.
Head coach Brian Polk said he’s pretty happy with the way the depth has improved. However, it’s still not where his program needs to be. The Bobcats went 3-7 in their first year as a Class 6A program.
"We’ve been pretty consistent so far, but we’re not setting the world on fire, either,” Polk said. "There’s been some good competition back and forth. That’s part of us going through it and becoming better.”
Senior quarterback Preston Haire has had a good spring throwing the ball. Polk said he could envision the offense throwing the ball more.
"We’ve had some young receivers who were inconsistent last year really grow so far,” Polk said. "They’re more confident.”
The program is going through the spring without putting state champion high jumper Brandon Bowen in team play. Bowen has been going through individual drills. Polk said he wants to keep Bowen from coming up with an injury that could have him missing some time.
Bowen will still split time between defensive end and wide receiver this fall. It remains to be determined how that will play out.
The team has also been without outside linebacker Joe Greutman. Greutman, who injured his shoulder toward the end of the 2014 season, was held out this spring for precautionary reasons, Polk said.